Superior Education

Metallic Thread

  • Troubleshooting
  • Metallic Thread
  • Tension
  • Needles

Q. I have never been able to quilt with metallic thread. When my customers come into my store with the same problem, I can't help them. I have tried all of your suggestions plus the suggestions by Dawn Cavanaugh for APQS longarm machines. I can't get any metallic thread to work on my sewing machine, from any thread brands. For reference, I am using Bottom Line in the bobbin, have loosened the top tension, and am using a new needle. I'm trying to quilt on my Brother 4000 D home sewing machine and have tried a topstitch and metallic needle. Today, I even tried loosening the bobbin tension, but the thread keeps shredding and breaking. I have no problems with any other Superior Thread, but can't seem to get Metallic to work. What can I do to quilt with this beautiful thread?

Quilt with metallic thread

A. It sounds like you are doing most everything we recommend already. Metallic threads are sensitive due to the specialty manufacturing process it undergoes. We have many quilts which we've quilted and embroidered with metallic thread, included the quilt pictured above, with fantastic results. There are a few more tips and adjustments we recommend:

  • Needle: Topstitch or Metallic #90/14
  • Top tension: Loosen to 1.0
  • If using a spool of metallic thread, position the spool on a vertical pin holder so the thread unwinds directly from the side of the spool with the spool rotating. Don't unwind a spool of metallic thread over the end of the spool. This results in added twist and increases the tension on the thread as it passes through your machine.
  • If using a cone of metallic thread, the thread must unwind straight up over the top of the cone, not from off the side.
  • If your machine doesn't have a vertical pin or you have a cone of thread for a home machine, we recommend our Superior Thread Holder.
  • Use a smooth polyester thread in the bobbin. The Bottom Line is a great choice because it is smooth and lint free.

Customer response:
Thank you for your response. My thread was on the horizontal spool and once I put it on my vertical spool pin, it worked! I look forward to making my quilt with your metallic thread.

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